Episode 169: Garamond

Download the Video! (14:03 26.8MB)
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Update: Please read Pascal’s comment!

And again a reference to Show #167. Pascal wrote in a comment that he didn’t like the font I used and pointed me to a nice free font called EBGaramond. This episode is about getting and using the font.

The font goes back into the 16th century. Claude Garamondwas a famous typesetter and publisher in Paris. He invented the apostrophe and designed a typeface that is still around.


A lot of font designers have derived their fonts from his work. You can be sure to find a Garamond typeface in every word processor font package.

Fonts are highly copyrighted and so Georg Duffner and his helpers went to the original source to cut a new, free version of a Garamond. A cursive font is under development too.

The font development is done with Font Forge.Just a short look at that program will convince you that type design is a serious business.

In the video I show how to install a font and how to use the new text tool in GIMP 2.7 with the on canvas editing.

Creative Commons License
Meet the GIMP Video Podcast by Rolf Steinort and Philippe Demartin is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Germany License.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at http://meetthegimp.org.

16 thoughts on “Episode 169: Garamond

  1. Very interesting episode, especially your remark about not violating the font by using synthetic weight changes or sloping. Many people don’t adhere to this and the result looks bad.
    The Gimp text widget will automatically use the proper fonts (if existent) via opentype features in future versions so this problem should get less dominant.
    And you should probably install the font not just Gimp-local but user-local. I’m not sure about Gnome, but in KDE you can do this directly from the font viewer or the control center. This way it’s available to other programs like TeX or LibreOffice as well.

    • I didn’t install the font system wide on the show because I wanted to keep it in GIMP. But I have installed it under Gnome with just the mentioned mouse click.

      I’ll set my papers for school now in Garamond. 😉

      • I suggested to install it user-local, not system-wide.

        About using it for school papers: The EB Garamond is maybe not the best choice for that. If you want a classical font you should either look at the Linux Libertine fonts or the more traditional lmodern ones. Both have excellent readability and very good integration and work well for formulas and diagrams which you’ll only partly get with Garamond. Also, the Garamond tends to run a bit stronger so for printing you’ll use more ink for the same text.

        • Well, after thinking about this I must have installed it as in userspace because I wasn’t asked for a password.

          And be assured, all my school material is set in Comic Sans…. 😉

    • There seems to be a problem with the tracker at opentracker.org. No idea what.

      We’ll have a deep look at the torrent stuff next week.

  2. @Rhian
    Yes, there’re some problems. Episodes 167, 168 and 169 are not being tracked and therefore no being seeded. Make sure you have dht in your torrent client active, they you should get some transfers.

  3. Hi Rolf,

    Great post! These text features are a huge improvement over GIMP 2.6. I can’t wait for GIMP 2.8 to arrive.

    I need to design a meetthegimp calligraphy lettering for you some day.


  4. Very nice show. Thanks for the plug 😀 Some small notes though…

    The major advantage of OpenType is that it allows programs to intelligently replace glyphs with other glyphs.

    For example in the show, I think you see the “T” and “h” glyphs being replaced by the Th ligature which removes some of the deadspace between the T and h. (other examples are fi, ff, ffi, ffj, fff (sauerstoffflasche, yes triple f’s really happen).

    The EB Garamond font is very feature rich, it has true smallcaps (accessible via OpenType, which a lot of applications don’t properly support yet) and defaults to beautiful old style figures (those don’t “look” like capitals).

    Also, justify alignment only works on paragraphs of text that span multiple lines. it has no use for single-line shorter than “page” width paragraphs. So this has nothing to do with the font itself.

    @nachbarnebenan, when selecting a font for print, ink usage should never be a concern, neither should paper usage.

    Some fonts can appear a bit “fat”, but that usually because they are designed to be printed at slightly smaller sizes. (Adobe solves this with their very expensive Optical variants).

    In the past I wrote some entry level posts on typography:

    For the few that might be interested, Robert Bringhurst “Elements of Typography Style” is highly recommended.

    • @Pascal:
      “when selecting a font for print, ink usage should never be a concern, neither should paper usage.”

      At my university fonts were chosen not only for how well their readability is and how good they work with formulas, but also how strong they run. If papers are printed a few thousand times a week even a 5 or 4 percent change is significant in the long run.
      However, in most cases they ended up using the default Knuth fonts anyway.

      “And be assured, all my school material is set in Comic Sans;-)”

      Phew, luckily I noticed the smiley in time. I was about to try that out with chemfig — as I’m quite sure it won’t work well.

  5. Rolf,

    Just a small detail, but I noted that the credits after the show still mention Bremen as production location.


    • I have made a new exit slide – with the correct text but no animation. I think a new design for all this stuff is necessary.

  6. Could we make a challenge for the intro and end of the shows.
    It cold be under the form of a project submission, under the form of mockups or story board,
    We could some how collaborate after on the realization of the wining project.

Anything to add from your side of the computer?